No wonder guests return to this big, bustling, ethically-run house. Lively, charming Françoise and her multi-lingual husband Lutz welcome walkers, climbers, cyclists and families. There’s a special space for workshop groups, too, separate from the big comfy sitting room. Bedrooms are plain, beamy, white, with the odd splash of ethnic colour and terracotta floors that gleam. Beds, beautifully designed by Lutz and made by local craftsmen, are all twins/doubles. Only a few bathrooms are now shared but the wonderful atmosphere of good humour and laughter has not been affected by the improvements and this is still not a place for luxury-seekers. Art exhibitions are constant, everywhere something beautiful catches the eye. Meals of local and organic produce are chosen from a blackboard menu. It’s perfect for families: a swimming pool, space to run around in, boules under the chestnut trees before you turn in for the night. The auberge sits in the middle of the Pic Saint Loup vineyard, one of the best in the Languedoc and Lutz’s excellent wine cellar is another reason to prolong your stay.